Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PARRY , JOHN ( 1812 - 1874 ), Calvinistic Methodist minister, college tutor, and editor ;

b. 23 March 1812 at Bersham, Denbs. , but in 1824 his parents removed to Manchester ; in fact, until he went to Bala he was more at ease in English than in Welsh . After some unsatisfactory schooling, he was apprenticed. But he was assiduous at evening classes in the Manchester Mechanics Institute , and took to mathematics and science with such zeal that when he sought permission to become a preacher , the suspicious authorities gave only very tardy consent — indeed, Lewis Edwards admitted Parry to Bala C.M. College ( 1838 ) before that consent was given. Between 1841 and 1843 he put in some broken terms at Edinburgh University — broken, because of want of means. But in 1843 Lewis Edwards chose him as his assistant at Bala , where he remained for the rest of his life. He put his duties as tutor before everything else, rarely preaching outside the immediate vicinity of Bala , and only under pressure consenting to write for Y Traethodydd when that periodical began to appear. He was an extremely conscientious tutor ; he seems to have been wholly unoriginal, but he laboured hard with the more backward of his pupils, and was indeed more fully appreciated by the majority of them than was Lewis Edwards himself — there is probably justice in the verdict of J. Cynddylan Jones (q.v.) that Parry did too much of their work for them, but that Lewis Edwards did them more real good. He was ordained in 1845 , and was moderator of the North Wales Calvinistic Methodist Association in 1866 . In 1844 he m. Sarah Gee , sister of the publisher Thomas Gee (q.v.) . When Gee , in 1853 , started the Welsh encyclopaedia Y Gwyddoniadur , Parry was persuaded to undertake the editorship , and though he died long before the work was finished, it was his connection with it that won him national fame — editorial work of this kind was congenial to a man of his conscientious nature. After 1865 his health rapidly declined, and he d. 19 Jan. 1874 .

Sources:

  • Owen Thomas 's preface to Y Gwyddoniadur Cymreig , 1889-96 , xix-xxxviii;
  • other scattered information.

Author:

Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 1959